SALT LAKE CITY — Police and the Utah Better Business Bureau are alerting local consumers and business leaders after receiving complaints about a company selling fake or deceptive sponsorships for high school sports teams.
Lone Peak detective Von Dookhran said his department received a complaint from a Highland business saying it had been contacted by Texas-based company Sports Media Marketing regarding sponsorship opportunities at American Fork High School.
“So apparently, what happened was she went to the football game and none of her stuff was being advertised,” Dookhran said. “So she questioned it, and the school’s like, ‘We have no idea what you’re talking about. We don’t associate with this business in Texas.’”
Dookhran said he reached out to the Texas Better Business Bureau, which was aware of the company but not of its Utah activities. He said the scheme is different than he’s seen before because when he contacted the school again a week later, they said they had, in fact, received a banner and some T-shirts.
“But what this company is doing is, they’re basically skimming the victims, or the businesses,” Dookhran said. “They’re delivering maybe a third of what they originally promised to deliver.
“I think it’s kind of their practice … that if they kind of deliver some of the stuff they promised they will, there wouldn’t really be any questions. Fortunately, people are starting to catch it.”
According to a Better Business Bureau news release, Sports Media Marketing is connected to other businesses called Boost Sports Integrative Media LLC, Touchdown Sports, All American Advertising and High School Sport Advertising.
The BBB has received 41 complaints and negative reviews about Sports Media Marketing over the past 19 months, according to the release. It says that businesses have been unable to reach the company for refunds after the fact.
Sports Media Marketing did not respond to requests for comment.
Dookhran advises that potential sponsors do research before committing to over-the-phone investments or deals.
“If you’re willing to sponsor a school or something, maybe take the person’s name and number down and look into it,” Dookhran said. “Sometimes one or two phone calls will help you to realize that it’s probably not a good idea to do business with these people.”